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Tory Lanez @ The Echoplex 11/6/16. Photo by Angelina Paldzyan. (@angelinapaldzyan) for www.BlurredCulture.com. This photo was obtained under the express authorization and license by Red Bull Media House North America, Inc.
Tory Lanez @ The Echoplex 11/6/16. Photo by Angelina Paldzyan. (@angelinapaldzyan) for www.BlurredCulture.com. This photo was obtained under the express authorization and license by Red Bull Media House North America, Inc.

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Back in the start of 2016, I was surfing the net for music when I came across an older article published by XXL Magazine titled “20 Most Slept-On Songs of 2015”. As most music nerds feel compelled to do when they hear phrases such as “slept-on” and “underrated”, I quickly clicked the link to see what the appeal was. I didn’t expect much, but after giving a listen to the entire list, I left with a few tracks that impressed me, such as KR’s “Play My Shit”, Skepta’s “Shutdown” and Wara from the NBHD’s “Trigger Happy”.

There was, however, one video that sparked something in me: Meek Mill’s “Lord Knows” featuring Tory Lanez. I wasn’t a huge fan of this song from the get-go, but there was something about Tory’s energy in this video that made me watch it ‘til the end. I knew I had to find out more about him, so I gave his name a quick search and stumbled upon his SoundCloud. A single titled “LA Confidential” had just been released that week, so without hesitation I gave it a listen. It only took me a few seconds in to come to the conclusion that I was really digging it. He had the most unique voice, and even though he sang about something controversial and disappointing (keeping secrets, feeling lonely, and cheating in a faithful relationship), it was so sweet to my ears that I completely disregarded all other senses. From that moment, he became an artist to watch in my book.

After much anticipation, Tory Lanez released his debut album I Told You and stunned everyone in the music business with his talent of being able to blend from one sub-genre to the next. His journey to fame is truly an incredible story, which he spoke of while he graced the stage at the Echoplex last weekend. I Told You is an audio autobiography made up of alternating skits and songs, telling the story of the time he got kicked out of his home and lived on his own while trying to pursue music without any support from his friends or family. It’s a beautifully organized melting pot of interesting tones and emotions. You truly feel as though you’ve been put in his shoes when you are listening to this album.

Thanks to Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA, I jumped at the chance to see Tory live for the first time. The Echoplex was as tightly packed as a can of sardines. I was anxious to see what crazy stunts he’d pull at such a small venue, seeing as he’d hung himself from concert ceilings in the past. I didn’t know what I was in store for, but I was curious to find out. The show opened up with the first skit on his album, “I Told You / Another One” setting the tone for the journey we were about to see live and in person. He entered the stage with so much heart and energy, waving his hands in the air and jumping from one side of the stage to the other, making sure he did everything in his power to get the crowd involved. It was clear he wanted everyone to have a memorable experience, and I respected him so much for this. From then on, he went on to sing more tracks off his debut album, including “Say It” and “Up”.

He slowed everything down for a bit to let everyone know how hard he had to work to fight the doubts that others had about him making it in the music career, from his family giving up on him to his boss firing him after he fell asleep in the Denny’s break room. Taking a moment to get serious, he told the crowd to follow their dreams and “not let anybody determine your future for you”.

To finish off the night, he said, “LA. If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this right,” climbed into the crowd and walked across the crowd on the hands of the people that truly supported him: his fans. After surfing his way through to the middle of the audience, he went in with his finale performance of “Diego”. Everyone aggressively chanted “We movin’ Diego, Diego!” as he surfed the crowd. Lanez gave his all in his performance, and that was something I admired. It was an astonishing show, and I was delighted to witness it all firsthand.

Follow Tory Lanez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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